This post forms part of the A-Z of Self-Care for Busy Parents series. If you missed the introductory post you can read it here.


As parents, we’re forever busy and the list of jobs and responsibilities can be endless and exhausting. We all complain about not having enough hours in the day and fall into bed at night worn out only to start it all again in the morning (if we’re lucky and don’t have at least one child up through the night). The to-do lists we hastily jot down only ever get longer (or lost).

We all want a way to lighten the load and may search for routines, charts, checklists, diaries etc to help keep us more organised and on track. And while these things can certainly be useful, the workload will still be the same. What we really need to do is ask for help.

Why is that we all seem to find it so hard to ask for help? Read on to find out why our top reasons for avoiding asking for help just don't stack up and why its so important, for ourselves and our family, that we do ask ...

Now there may be some of you reading this who are very good at asking for help and I take my hat off to you, keep it up. But I’d wager that the vast majority of you are really bad at it and instead just soldier on, getting tireder by the day. Why is that?

Top Reasons We Struggle To ask for help And Why They Don’t Stack Up

  • Fear of rejection – Maybe its as simple as being worried the other person will say no. But even if they do, you’ve lost nothing. It would take a pretty heartless person to say no and make you feel guilty for even asking. In most cases, if a person can’t help with the specific thing you’ve asked for, they will offer to help in some other way.
  • We believe we have to do it all – Maybe we see it as our ‘job’ or our ‘duty’ to do all of the things we take on. Why? Nobody, and I mean nobody, can do everything all the time without some help, not without breaking under the strain.
  • We don’t want to burden anyone – after all, everyone has their own stuff to do, why would we want to add to that? Asking for help isn’t being a burden, it’s opening up and admitting you need them. It doesn’t have to be a one-way street, maybe there’s something you can help them with too.
  • Everyone else can cope so we should too – we see other people coping or see all the perfect pictures people post on social media and think we will be seen as useless if we can’t cope as well as them. I’ll let you into a secret, it’s all a lie! Those perfect pictures don’t show what is going on outside the frame. They are carefully angled to hide the pile of washing in the sink/laundry on the floor/pen marks on the wall etc. Those smiling kids may have spent all morning screaming and refusing to put their socks on. You never really see what goes on behind closed doors and away from the camera, we are all human.
  • Other people have it way harder – what do we have to complain about? There are plenty of people out there who are worse off than us, we should stop complaining and get on with it. While it’s true that there are always other people who are worse off, it doesn’t mean that you can’t struggle. Everyone needs help sometimes no matter what their circumstances.
  • Loss of control – the perfectionist in us may worry about the other person doing it wrong. So what? What’s the worst that can happen? So it isn’t done the way you would have done it, as long as it’s done does it really matter? No it doesn’t.

"Ask for help not because you are weak, but because you want to remain strong." - Les Brown

Why asking for help is so important

  • No one can do it all and trying to will just lead to you getting burnt out or ill.
  • Sometimes people actually want to help but don’t want to step on your toes or risk offending you by offering.
  • It builds connections and strengthens relationships. By lowering your guard and admitting to someone that you need their help, not only are you trusting in them and opening up, you’re making them feel valued and needed and opening up a line of communication that can only deepen your relationship.
  • Builds independence in children and helps them learn. If you have older children asking them for help, even if it’s just setting the table or emptying the dishwasher, can make them feel good about themselves and provide them with life skills.

I’m the first to admit that I am terrible when it comes to asking for help, for all of the reasons listed above. Even when my husband asks if I need help with something my first response is ‘no, its ok’. It was only after a conversation one night that I realised he wasn’t offering just as a way of being polite, he actually wanted to help. I was too busy trying to do everything in a bid to be the perfect wife/mother I felt I needed to be that I didn’t realise I was actually pushing him out. I do still struggle with asking for help at times (I’m working on it), but since that conversation I rarely need to anymore.

"You can do anything, but not everything." -  David Allen

Just some of the things you could ask for help with

  • Household chores – ask you partner to help out with certain chores or give the kids some small age-appropriate tasks.
  • Cooking – maybe you and your partner could take it in turns or they could help out at the weekend.
  • ‘Me Time’ – maybe you could set aside one hour a week where someone else is in charge of the kids so you can have a soak in the bath.
  • If you’re a single parent you could always make an arrangement with a fellow mum friend. You could offer to have her kids at your house one afternoon/evening and they do the same for you the following week.
  • Maybe you could ask your boss for more flexible hours or a revision of certain responsibilities.
  • Maybe you just need a babysitter so you can have a night out and let your hair down.

Sit down and have a think if there is anything that you can ask for help with so that you can lighten your load or just have a bit of extra time to take care of yourself. Then bite the bullet and ask.

Of course, this post refers to day to day tasks/responsibilities. If you’re struggling emotionally, asking for help can be scary but is even more important. If you find it too hard opening up to a friend or relative, speak to your doctor and they will be able to put you in touch with someone locally who can help you.

"Healing takes time, and asking for help is a courageous step." - Mariska Hargitay

See also 16 Quotes about Asking for Help which includes a FREE printable of all 16 new quotes plus the three in this one too.

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23 thoughts on “The Importance of Asking for Help

  1. so important. I a great helper but not so great an asker. I guess most of us are like that. #MondayStumble

    Posted on 6 February, 2018 at 9:19 am
  2. I agree – it’s one of the hardest things to do, and one of the most important too! It’s vital to ask for help when we need it. It helps avoid burnout and makes us feel supported and seen, which are so very important for our mental health too!
    Modern Gypsy recently posted…Why You Should Adopt A Playful Approach To LifeMy Profile

    Posted on 7 February, 2018 at 5:19 am
  3. I can really relate to this – I’m terrible about asking for help for all of the reasons you stated above. Even when friends offer to babysit my daughter to give me a break, I find a way to turn them down. I need to get better about admitting that I can’t always do it all, and that’s okay. #familyfunlinky

    Posted on 12 February, 2018 at 7:04 am
  4. This is a really good post and I think it’s a balancing act of asking for help vs feeling like you’re putting people out. My MIL never offers to have the kids for us and never invites us over and so we decided we wouldn’t ask her to babysit for my birthday this year and surprise surprise the offer never came so I think it’s finding help from people who are actually willing to help and won’t see it as a chore! Sorry moan over!!!! #familyfun x

    Posted on 12 February, 2018 at 8:00 am
  5. You are so right Alana! I never want to ask for help as I’ve managed so long in my own. We don’t have proactive grandparents so looking after the children when they were younger was all down to us. Now that the children are older it’s easier to find time for me but children have been replaced by poorly grandparents! I feel like I’m always caring for someone. Oh well, it’s half term and I’m still in PJs so there is some self care happening here. I’m going to dish out the chores when everyone is up and awake! Great post. #familyfun

    Posted on 12 February, 2018 at 8:32 am
  6. I love this quotes. It’s so hard to ask for help but if we don’t we struggle so much more! Self-care is such an important part of parenting to keep us on top, something I have learnt lot over the last year x #familyfunlinky
    relentlesslypurple recently posted…Rustic By Marney – How creativity helps me manage my anxiety and depressionMy Profile

    Posted on 12 February, 2018 at 8:36 am
  7. Oh I always ask for him and it is the best and most empowering thing I can do at times.

    #FamilyFunLinky

    Posted on 12 February, 2018 at 10:06 am
  8. Oh I always ask for help and it is the best and most empowering thing I can do at times.

    #FamilyFunLinky

    Posted on 12 February, 2018 at 10:07 am
  9. Yup, no. 2 for me. I hate to annoy people. I am getting better and saying yes to help! Progress!

    Posted on 12 February, 2018 at 10:51 am
  10. I’m so bad at this. I’m always thinking that I need to do it all but sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day. You’re right, we should ask for help.
    #familyfun

    Posted on 12 February, 2018 at 11:11 am
  11. This is my biggest weakness. I don’t like admitting that I can’t do everything!#familyfunlinky

    Posted on 12 February, 2018 at 3:15 pm
  12. Such a fantastic post and something as mums we often forget. Thank you for reminding me #familyfunlinky
    Michelle recently posted…The day I tried to end it allMy Profile

    Posted on 12 February, 2018 at 3:35 pm
  13. Love this post, such a great reminder that we all need help sometimes! Love your suggestions here x #familyfunlinky

    Posted on 13 February, 2018 at 9:30 am
  14. I am USELESS at asking for help always have been. That said with age I have started to get a bit better and it is so important to ask sometimes as we all need help from time to time! #familyfun
    Tammymum recently posted…#Familyfun… week 68My Profile

    Posted on 13 February, 2018 at 10:08 am
  15. Good post. Our society in this country is really not geared up very well for family life and community with family members living so far apart and parents working long hours. Parents need to definitely help each other and work together. #familyfun

    Posted on 13 February, 2018 at 11:39 am
  16. This is a really good post. One of my goals for 2018 was to have more me time and ask for help when I need it. Reading this post has been a great reminder, that I don’t need to do it all on my own. My husband is amazing and helps out SO much. However, he works all the time so I often feel really bad asking for any help. I know that’s on me.. not him. Great read. #familyfunlinky

    Jemma
    http://www.jemmalone.com

    Posted on 13 February, 2018 at 1:27 pm
  17. Nodding alone and have been guilty of this but makes a big difference to asking for help #familyfunlinky
    mummy here and here recently posted…Lemon Drizzle CakeMy Profile

    Posted on 13 February, 2018 at 2:10 pm
  18. I love this. Asking for help really can be tough – but it’s so worth it. We are lucky because we have a great network of family close by to help out when we need it. But even so I sometimes struggle asking for help. I’m a mom – I should be able to do it all, right? Nope.

    I also love that you pointed out that all those social media posts of beautiful rooms and wonderfully clean and proper children are sometimes not as they seem. My house is a disaster, and I don’t do a very good job of hiding it! It’s important to remember that everyone else does not always have their life together as it may appear on social media!!

    ~Jess
    #FamilyFun
    Jessica – A Modern Mom’s Life recently posted…Is It Harder Now To Keep Kids Safe?My Profile

    Posted on 14 February, 2018 at 12:02 am
  19. It is hard to ask for help, I always felt like I would be seen as a failure for needing help with things. Now I will ask for help if I need it, it makes life easier and it keeps me sane.
    #FamilyFun
    Ali Duke recently posted…My Empties January 2018My Profile

    Posted on 14 February, 2018 at 6:22 pm
  20. It can be hard asking for help especially if you think the answer may be negative. However, they may surprise you. #FamilyFunLinky
    Helena recently posted…Word of the Week: LoveMy Profile

    Posted on 16 February, 2018 at 7:10 pm
  21. I actually used to be that person that felt if I was strong enough, then I didn’t need help. The independent and self-reliant side of me still struggles with it from time to time but for the most part I’ve overcome this. #FamilyFunLinky
    Michelle Kellogg recently posted…Celebrating Valentine’s Day with My 15 All-Time Favorite Love SongsMy Profile

    Posted on 17 February, 2018 at 2:38 pm
  22. I am a firm believer in asking for help, directions, etc… It is a sign of strength and I wish more people would realize that — thank you for this great post, Alana. #familyfunlinky xoxo
    Lisa Pomerantz recently posted…Without words todayMy Profile

    Posted on 17 February, 2018 at 3:56 pm
  23. We now have a cleaner and she’s a godsend – I literally couldn’t do it all with three kids and a full time job. I sometimes outsource the washing when it gets too much too! #familyfunlinky
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…#MySundayPhotoMy Profile

    Posted on 18 February, 2018 at 11:16 am